Intel Corp. (INTC:US), the world’s biggest chipmaker, is building an Internet television set-top box that it will sell directly to consumers, aiming to create a new market for its processors.
Erik Huggers, vice president of Intel’s digital home group, said the device and related service, which will debut later this year, will deliver live TV, on-demand programming and other features. Huggers was speaking at a conference in Dana Point, California, hosted by AllThingsD.
Intel’s set-top box will deliver a better viewing experience than traditional cable and satellite companies, as well as Web-connected devices from Apple Inc. (AAPL:US), Roku Inc. and other manufacturers, Huggers said. The push into the media business (INTC:US) is one of Intel’s attempts to lessen its dependence on the personal-computer market, which is predicted to decline for a second year in 2013.
“Intel is very interested in getting into the consumer businesses,” said Huggers, who was recruited from the British Broadcasting Corp. two years ago. “We’ve taken a leap of faith that the time is here.”
The box will feature a camera that can recognize users and offer personalized programming suggestions and choices, Huggers said. Intel has hired people from Apple, Google Inc. (GOOG:US) and Netflix Inc. (NFLX:US) to work on the product, he said. He declined to say what content will be available on the box when it goes on sale, or whether the company has already signed deals with media companies.
“We are partnering with programmers,” Huggers said. “We are working with everyone right now.”
The Intel offering won’t necessarily free consumers from programming bundles sold by cable and satellite service providers, Huggers said. Intel isn’t trying to undercut such services by offering cheaper prices, he said.
“I don’t believe the industry is ready for pure a la carte,” Huggers said. “If bundles are done right, there is real value in that.”
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